The Baby Chronicles: A Horror Story
"Jayvion, I'm bored!" Bluestar whines. All of her siblings, and her owner, are out for some reason or other, and the only ones left are the little baby Kougra and the dark purple Darigan Kougra. And little Bluestar is incredibly bored.
"What do you want me to do about it?" Jayvion says disinterestedly.
"How? What do you want me to do?"
"I'm not going to dance for your amusement. Pick something else," he says, flipping a page of his Altador Cup Magazine.
"Well, then," Bluestar says before drifting off in thought. Suddenly, she gasps, "Read me a story, Jayjay, read me a story!"
"Hmm," Jayvion says, closing his magazine as the perfect book comes to mind. "Follow me."
The Darigan Kougra runs out of the living room and up the stairs, taking them two at a time. Bluestar stumbles along after him with her stubby legs, doing her best to keep up with her fit, athletic older brother. She is gasping by the time she reaches the top. Flopping to the ground for a brief break, she pants heavily before standing on shaky paws and running after her brother down the hallway. She stops in their house's library, the room not especially big. Bluestar has barely ever entered the room before.
Jayvion has already pulled a big, black leather bound book from the shelf. He drops it onto the table and begins flipping through the pages, spreading dust everywhere. He finally stops and says, "Aha! Got it. Sit down, child, and I will read you a story of dark nights and mysterious shadows."
Bluestar, already entranced, sits before Jayvion. "Go on, go on, read it!"
He smiles, picks the book up in his claws and stands before the baby. "Now, let me read you a story about the Icy Skeletons!"
It was a cool night on Terror Mountain. One small blue Kacheek wrapped his scarf tighter and stuck his front paws in his jacket pockets. He heard his own teeth chattering in the still air, and the crunch of his boots as they sunk into the snow. He passed through empty streets as he tried to climb to Happy Valley. But he was enjoying his walk, and kept his speed at an all-time slow. He gazed up at the full moon, shining down upon Terror Mountain in all it's brilliance. The light illuminated the streets just enough for the Kacheek to not need a lantern, which he wasn't fond of using late at night- he would be a glowing beacon for bandits and voodoo witches, though his parents kept telling him witches didn't exist.
He finally entered the mouth of Happy Valley, and the silence was deafening. He was used to raucous laughter and merriment crowding the streets and icy walkways of the valley, and now it was empty and depressing. He wished he had a companion with him, because he suddenly felt uneasy strolling through the mountain paths at such an improper hour. The Kacheek sped up his pace as he traversed Happy Valley, and as he neared the Snowager's cave the uneasiness in him ebbed away, just as quickly as the emotion had gripped him earlier.
The Kacheek began to enjoy his walk once more, and was soon on the final path to the top of the mountain. Which, unfortunately, was the longest. He quickly checked his watch, using the light of the moon as a torch, and saw that it was past midnight. He would be in trouble when he finally got back home.
He quickened his pace, breath billowing in front of him as he pushed himself to a greater speed. He entered into a particularly long shadow on the path, and suddenly tripped into the snow, receiving a faceful of icy wetness.
"Oomph!" the Kacheek gasped. Pushing himself onto all fours, he checked behind him. To his embarrassment, he saw nothing that could have tripped him- except his own paws.
He began to stand up, but was immediately pushed back down again. A raspy voice laughed raucously, causing many other voices to join in. "Just stay down, kiddo."
The Kacheek looked up, and felt fear jump into his heart as he gazed at the bandits. Well, they weren't fit to be called bandits. Maybe... monsters.
"Now, why don't you just empty your pockets, nice and simple-like," the man continued. Not a man, though. An icy skeleton.
He couldn't tell which Neopet this might have been, except that it had had some sort of snout or muzzle. The eyeless sockets burned into him as he quivered on the snowy ground. He was frozen with fear, as he saw he was surrounded by the creatures. Icy skeletons.
He had heard stories, legends, horrific tales. But they were stories, couldn't be real because there was no colour of Neopet that took away their flesh and fur. He wondered if he might be able to shatter their brittle bones and make a run for it, but he was still a long way from home and not especially athletic. He wouldn't make it six meters without being caught. Besides, there were too many.
"Well, buddy, you gonna give us your coin or do we have to do this tha hard way?"
He gulped, and his head swiveled back and forth across the skeletons surrounding him. He would be beaten to a pulp if he didn't give these creatures his Neopoints. But his family wouldn't last too long without the coins, either. Whatever happened, he had already lost.
I have to fight, he thought. I can't let them win!
But, if and when he did get beaten, his family would have to nurse him back to health, which would take him out of work for too long. He had to stay healthy, for his siblings sake. He had to give in. Even if it killed him.
"WELL, BOY, WHICH IS IT? HUH?" the skeleton asked, yelling now, his eye sockets squinched in an angry way.
"H-here," the Kacheek said, emptying his pockets and holding his paws out to the skeleton leader, who grabbed the meager amount of Neopoints greedily. The bone was freezing cold as it brushed his fur, and it scratched his skin as the coins were snatched from his paw.
"P-please, go a-a-away n-now," he stammered, teeth chattering both from fright and cold.
"HAHAHA!" the lead skeleton laughed maliciously, and the others joined were quick to join in. The Kacheek's blood froze, so he pushed himself to his feet and stood shakily.
"You think we're just gonna let ya go? Huh? What fun would that be? Huh? Get him," he snarled, the final words a slow, whispering snarl.
The Kacheek quickly realized that it had all been in vain. He would have to fight. And this way, if he broke away, he'd still not have any money. What was the point? WHAT IN FYORA'S NAME WAS THE POINT?!
His fists clenched at his sides and he readied himself for the onslaught, which was quick to come.
Bluestar is jolted from her imagination as Jayvion slams the book shut, dust showering over her. She looks up, confused. "That's it?" she asks. "What about the fight? Did he beat them? Did he make it home? What happened to his family? Did they get the Neopoints they needed? What was he doing out so late? Why is-"
"Shut your mouth, Bluestar! Do you even want answers to all those questions?" Jayvion asks, mock frustration on his face. As she quiets down, he says, "Alright, now. What are your questions?"
"Did he beat 'em?" the baby Kougra whispers, eyes wide in wonder.
"I don't know."
She is broken from her trance, and instead adopts a look of angry confusion. "What do you mean you don't know?!"
"It's not written in the book."
"Then what was the point in that?"
"Well, what was the point the stupid book if they don't end it right?"
"They ended it fine. It was a nice cliffhanger, and left you to create the rest for yourself. For example, I like to think he put up a good fight and had some last minute help from someone. What do you think happened?"
"Well, I think he just barely got away, all bloodied and ripped and torn, and he had to be nursed back to health by the love of his life, who then fell in love with him too, and then they had babies, and happily ever after!" Bluestar explodes, bouncing with merriment at her sudden burst of creativity.
Jayvion chuckles. "A perfect ending."
"But, I have more questions. Like, what were the skeletons?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, are they like.... dead people?"
"Nobody knows. Maybe they were born that way, maybe something evil turned them into it."
"What could turn anyone evil?"
"I dunno. Maybe witches or potion-masters, or evil scientists. Any other questions?"
"Are they really real?"
"Nobody knows. Some say they're real. Some say the people who think they're real are crazy. Some say it's just a story meant to scare kids into not walking in the dark alone."
"What do you think, Jay?"
Jayvion sits quietly for several moments before answering. "I think they are real. And I think everybody needs to take heed: icy skeletons are out there, and until we do something about it more Neopets are going to get hurt."